When What Can Go Wrong Does Go Wrong

Being a small business, a creative person, an artist, a self-employed person… there are so many things that can go wrong, and usually no one but yourself to fix it. You can’t keep going if you don’t adapt.

Fortunately, we are stubborn.

Oops, We forgot something!

 

With as many shows as we have done, it is to be expected that occasionally something has been left behind. Packing for events is never not stressful, no matter how many times we have done it, and it often happens at the end of very long weeks trying to make as many things as we possibly can.

Sometimes, it is specialty displays that get left. We left our mask displays behind once, before we learned how to show them on gridwall. Last minute solution? Skinny pillows from Goodwill that matched our booth colors. We still use the pillows to add some interest to our displays.

Inventory that gets left behind is probably the most annoying. That’s things that might have sold that customers never see. Fortunately, all of our inventory doesn’t fit in just one box, so we’ve never left behind all of our inventory. It does mean putting out pretty much everything else we have made to make up for it.

Most recently, we forgot a bag of stakes that goes to our large, medieval pavilion for a one weekend event. It uses both large stakes for tension and small stakes to pin the 16 poles. Replacing all of those at a moment’s notice was next to impossible and would have been painfully expensive. In that case, it was a cost decision – buying a new backup tent at Walmart was more cost effective than buying all new stakes. So creative use of Walmart canopys it was!

For one show, we even had our entire tent not ship on time! And that’s why one of our backup tents is a 10 x 20 carport.

Rain, and Wind Oh My!

If you do outdoor shows, you have to contend with weather.

Actually, amend that. Sometimes, you have to contend with weather even with an indoor show. Shows on snow days where no one can make it to your indoor show are a not good you can’t do anything about.

And then there was that one time there was a pipe leak above our booth and we had to move tables to avoid stinky water. Thank goodness none of our products were directly under it!

But rain and wind… they will happen, and you have to adapt.

20161009_103659
Poor mangled steel tent! The only tents that survived the night were the full reenactor tents.

Wind is our least favorite. Several seasons ago, we lost three pop up tents in the course of a year. One was twisted beyond any hope of salvaging by a hurricane remnant. That was the year that made us buy our medieval pavilion!

Sometimes, it just means no sleeping in the tent at night, like we usually do at renaissance faires. High winds or thunderstorms tearing through a camp site can send us to sleeping in the car – which at this point we are well prepared for with foam mats and car blankets. It used to send us to a hotel.

And then there’s rain. Rain is easier for a tent set up than wind, but not good on leather products or on foot traffic. Product we can shift, and what is where will rotate when the rain get bad. Leather goes to where it is most protected, wood gets a little wet. But rain also means mud. We were “the dock” at last year’s Virginia Renaissance Faire because the hill became a river that parted around our makeshift wooden platform. Not setting up for an extended time without a platform again!

But if it’s only a one weekend event, we have to rely on organizers for things like straw. Our poor neighbors once had a river through their tent!

But whatever the problem, if there is a show we have paid for, we will be there! Maybe sometimes a little late. Maybe sick or sleep deprived. But we’ll be there!

What show disasters have you had to deal with? I’d love to hear your stories in the comments!

Advertisements

Wyrd Armouries Swag!

When Nathaniel and I went to the Halloween & Party Expo (which was totally awesome, by the way), I designed t-shirts for us to wear on the floor. They were made last minute with iron-on transfers, but we still like the design.

So, we’ve made it available for all of our friends who are Keeping It Wyrd! Proceeds from the sale of these will help us keep renovating our studio and bringing you new creative projects. If you have a moment, think about picking up a little swag to support Wyrd Armouries!

wyrdsticker

Support Wyrd Armouries section of our Etsy store

Event Review – Anachrocon

We spent last weekend at another event that was new to us, though it was the 10th anniversary of the event overall. The fun of moving south means that our day-travel radius has shifted… if we’re willing to push it, as far south as Atlanta.

So that’s where we went!

The other fun part of this is that we are meeting all new vendors and customers. So we had a nice weekend meeting fun new people.

Unfortunatly, much like our show earlier in February, we had a lot of time to meet our fellow vendors. Traffic was light, and those who had done this convention repeatedly all agreed that things were down year over year. Still, we did generally well, met awesome new people, and have some new custom orders to tackle – which I will definitely be sharing in progress pictures of! Keep an eye on our Instagram if no where else.

Now on to the photos!

IMG_20190215_145934-01
I love this dealer’s room sign! I wish more conventions would be creative with it.
IMG_20190215_145942-01
The nice and not to big dealer’s room.
IMG_20190215_150029-01
Obligatory picture of Nathaniel finishing pieces in the booth. He’s gained an audience.
IMG_20190215_150043-01
Another booth photo! The creepy shield did startle a couple of people.
IMG_20190215_150051-01
Wood spoons and wood knives. We’ve got it covered!
IMG_20190216_113135-01
A fun example of taking creative inspiration from found objects. The skull sword got lots of attention.
IMG_20190216_115316-01
There were so many excellent costumes about! Love these two.
IMG_20190216_142944-01
Steampunk Scarecrow! Wish I’d seen him back when I did steampunk Batman villians for Dragon Con.
IMG_20190216_155231-01
This woman is determined to spread more positivity to the world, and I love her cause!
IMG_20190216_181953-01
Awesome time machine made out of a mobility scooter.
IMG_20190216_182207-01
When traveling in time, you totally need a plasma caster, right?
IMG_20190216_182732-01
Our big steampunk contraption is finally ready for sharing. Glad they had fun posing with our weapon!
IMG_20190216_212744-01
Excellent music for the Saturday evening concert. Tuatha Dea were lots of fun!
IMG_20190216_212748-01
Wish this band had a larger audience, because they were a blast!
IMG_20190217_140758-01
Spider lace totally needs a spider sword…
IMG_20190217_141405-01
…or, apparantly, a Harley hammer, since that went home with her for her own customization.

 

 

 

Event Review: Bull City Robotic Rodeo

We’re happy to have started our year with an all new adventure in Steampunk, and a new local show! This show had its good and bad, but I hope the team that put it together tries again next year.

First, huge compliments to the organizers of this event. They had all sorts of awesome things going on all hours of the event, and a bunch of amazing creators. Honestly, it was one of the best dealer’s rooms for quality that I have ever seen. We had fun reunions with steampunk creators that we usually see up north.

I even ended up on TV!

 

 

Continue reading

Halloween 2018 – Our First Haunted House!

If you didn’t already know, I am a massive Halloween nut. It is my favorite holiday, and I have bins and bins of decorations. Now that we are making the move into prop rental, a lot of my decorations and props are now property of the shop.

So, as we wanted to show off what we do and make, the old/new theater space, and show there’s some life on The Boulevard, we threw our first public haunted house this year!

I unfortunately didn’t get pictures when the lights and everything were set, but here – enjoy Jac’s welcome we made as a promo!



And here’s some stills we took during shut down – plus our awesome cast and crew on Halloween night!

The Other Stores – More News from The Boulevard

So, continuing down the list of updates from 2018, here’s our two sibling businesses, and a short tale of how they came to be! (Seriously, we were not planning on three storefronts in one year. That’s crazy talk.)

In April I made the move to officially live in Eden most of the time. We had met one of the local building owners, and when asked what homes were for rent near the studio… well, there literally was one across the street. Cute little old yellow house, 2-3 bedrooms depending on how you set it up, entertainingly crooked with age. It was actually a lunch room in the 60s, with living areas above.

20171226_150821

(There it is, before it was painted yellow, with the theater next door on fire.)

So, I happily moved in and starting setting it up to suit me. So, see that picture above? Some point after the theater burned down, the local post office was built on that spot. Our local post office is now much bigger and in a different part of town, and by the time I moved in a small church was using that building.

About the churches… Eden has a ridiculous statistic with its high concentration of churches. The Boulevard is not that big a commercial street, but it has Eden Baptist on one end and Shaw Christian Church on the other, plus it had this small church in the middle.

A couple months after I moved in, the little church moved out. At which point Nathaniel jumped on the property, because he had ideas. The plan? The Olde Post Office Theater and Game Parlor. Getting it off the ground has been a bit of slow going with everything else we are up to, but we were able to do one awesome thing with it – This year, Wyrd Armouries sponsored/threw our very first haunted house!

20181031_224712

Our awesome haunted house cast!

More on the haunted house in my next blog post, because hey, it was awesome and deserves its own highlight!

Also in October, the little crooked yellow house got its new storefront addition. See, living on the street that we are trying to help revitalize, I felt a little guilty that this adorable building was now just a home. But it did have two entrances, and the front one goes into a room that can be easily closed off from the rest of the house.

I repainted that room and used it a couple of times in the summer as a pop-up gallery of our work, since the studio could not be opened to the public yet. But by October I made it into its own thing. So, now the little yellow building is home to Crooked Treehouse Enchanting Gifts, my own little hole-in-the-wall witchy shop.

42945225_548473055593153_8871670122901667840_n

Front stoop of the witchy shop

That store is now open in the evenings, and the Old Post Office is working on launching. If all goes well, that will we an improv and gaming space, as well as a space where we can teach classes and throw events that show off what Wyrd Armouries can do.

So thank you to The Boulevard for giving us a new home, and don’t mind us as we take over this little corner of it!

Update – The Great and Terrible Studio Building

As promised, I’m following up on our 2018 in review with some more detailed posts, so here’s a “where we are” update. Our big news last year was finding a new building to move our business into. Well, it’s a year later and we’re not nearly as far along as we hoped, but progress has been made and we’re learning a lot.

First, we found some of the history of the building! We got into a storage loft that had been painted shut since the 70s to find various seasonal displays stored away. Not in the best of shape, but still a cool find and let us piece together more of the history. Our tax records put our building as dating from 1930, but we have a suspicion it was built on the bones of a previous building on the same corner. The business in 1930 was Globman’s department store, a local chain started in Martinsville, VA (about 30 minutes away) by a Russian Jewish immigrant family. By the 70s they had outgrown the Boulevard, Eden location and moved to the then new Eden Mall. By 1973 our building was a Western Auto. We found some of their holiday displays, too.

As of this fall, we officially own the building. So that’s exciting! After going back and forth for a while with our landlord to try and find ways to fund fixing our roof, we worked out buying it from him instead. So yeah, it’s ours! Wonders and problems and all.

Here’s a look at the inside – our progress, our problems, and why we still love our new old building.

IMG_20181220_132521-01
“Cynthia’s” side of the studio, where we’ve both been doing much of our work as we renovate the rest.

IMG_20181220_132536-01
Leatherworking station. More permanent furniture is still to come, but I’m loving the room.

IMG_20181220_132545-01
Sewing station.

IMG_20181220_132604-01
Front wall mostly built, to divide our showroom from our work areas. Look at that lovely tin tile ceiling!

IMG_20181220_132621-01
View into Nathaniel’s side of the back… with our room problems showing in the back of the room.

IMG_20181220_132629-01
The beginning of storage and work bays being built on the back side of the dividing wall.

IMG_20181220_132642-01
Display case salvaged from another local building we’ve been clearing out. There are 2 more of these we still have to restore. Love the rolling base Nathaniel built!

IMG_20181220_132710-01
View from the inside of our front window, out onto The Boulevard.